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Guide to Sahelanthropus, Orrorin and Ardipithecus

These fossil species between 8 million and 4.4 million years old include some of the earliest members of the hominin lineage.

Ardipithecus hand skeleton next to a human hand X-ray image
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Research highlight: Vertebral wedging in Homo naledi

In a new paper led by Scott Williams, we look at the way that the Homo naledi lower vertebral column compares to humans and other extinct hominins.

Vertebral column preserved for the LES1 skeleton in left lateral, anterior, posterior, and right lateral views.
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Why anthropologists rejected the aquatic ape theory

Human ancestors did not evolve in an aquatic environment. But they did make use of coastal and shoreline resources where they were abundant.

A painting showing an ape and some kind of fish in water, with an ape-looking-Darwin-looking figure at lower right
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Research highlight: Sexual dimorphism in the relationship between the gut and pelvis

We test the notion that pelvis dimensions can yield accurate estimates of gut size in fossil hominins by looking at today's people.

A plot showing the inferior transverse outlet versus gut volume in men and women.
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What's the deal with the Sahelanthropus femur?

A news story by Ewen Callaway investigates the mysterious case of this purported earliest bipedal hominin.

Skull of Sahelanthropus tchadensis reconstruction in a museum exhibit
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New footprints from Laetoli shed light on how the science has changed in 40 years

New trails expand our knowledge of body size and behavior of some of the earliest known bipedal hominins.

Photo of footprints from Laetoli
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An in-depth look at the pelvic reconstruction of Ardipithecus

The pelvic anatomy of Ardipithecus ramidus may give clues about the posture and locomotion of this ancient species.

Skeleton of Ardipithecus ramidus in a display case